Your kitchen is probably the busiest room in the house – a centre of activity for cooking, dining, entertaining and just hanging out – so it’s important that your lighting is up to everything that’s required of it. One light in the middle of the ceiling is definitely not going to cut it!
Depending on the size of the room, a number of recessed downlights – especially the new energy-saving LED ones – are a good place to start with overall ambient kitchen lighting. These can be installed on separate switches to limit the amount of light you need at any one time. Many can also be installed with dimmers, so that you can add an instantly softer mood when super bright light is not required.
To illuminate your work areas for food preparation, cooking on the stove, reading recipes, washing up and so on, you’re also going to need some kind of task lighting. It should be bright and ideally focused over your hands, so that you are not working in your own shadow. Under-cabinet puck lights and LED strip lighting are ideal for this use, but if your bench space is not beneath wall cabinets, then pendant lights or an adjustable track lighting system are also an option. For the stove itself, make sure that your rangehood has a built-in light, preferably with several levels of illumination.
The other place for good bright light is in the pantry – you don’t need a moody glow when you’re searching for a tin of beans! You can also light up the inside of drawers and cabinets themselves with an array of slimline bar lights that automatically switch on and off when you open and close the doors or drawers.
For your eating area, decorative pendant lights – either one, or a cluster – are a great idea, as they bathe the dining space in a soft glow and provide a focal point over the bench or table.
And finally, if you have something to show off – either a painting, feature wall or perhaps a glass cabinet of pretty glassware or crockery – don’t forget to add an accent light to make the most of your display. Here, you can use directional spotlights, a standing lamp, wall uplights or ultra-thin, in-cabinet strip lighting.